Attractive Trainers
Dassault Mirage IIID – North American T-28C – SAN Jodel D.140

This week’s Curator’s Choice has been particularly difficult. I thought it was about time I had a wander around the Gallery of Sundry Aircraft which combines a few different kinds of military aeroplanes that aren’t numerous enough to have their own galleries. One type of aircraft that is growing so much that we will have to open a gallery for it sooner than later is training aircraft. I suppose this makes sense because everyone who becomes a pilot, military or civil, has to start on a trainer.

Having decided to chose three trainers the problem was then to pick only three of them. There were several ways we could go about this but in the end I decided that it would be the three most ‘attractive’ trainers. This is probably a very subjective choice, so maybe you will learn something about my tastes from my choices.

Dassault Mirage IIID in 1/72 by High Planes
This choice was simple, it’s a Mirage III, one of the most attractive aircraft ever made. Having a second seat that gives the fuselage a gentle upward curve makes it look even a little bit more attractive. Added to that is the scheme that this ARDU Mirage IIID is painted in, making the choice easy. The full scale aircraft is on display at the South Australian Aviation Museum where it looks gorgeous. Another site says that this Mirage III never flew in this livery but who cares, it still looks magnificent.

This model was made from the High Planes 1/72 kit which dates from the 1990s and has appeared in a number of boxings with a variety of decals. This particular livery comes from a Hawkeye decal set which is very good quality. On the box of the kit you will read the words ‘For experienced modellers only, requires some cutting, sanding and filling. And it’s right so some of you might be better off not trying this one yet. In any case, you are more likely to find the more recent High Planes injection moulded kit which gets the thumbs up from Hyperscale, with one reservation.

North American T-28C in 1/72 by Heller
After the Mirage the choice becomes more difficult but let’s go and have a look at the North American T-28 in one of the US Navy’s more interesting schemes. As you can see, the T-28 is a chunky looking aircraft which gives it, I think, a certain charm. It was designed to replace the famous T-6 Texan and the French made some modifications to it to suit their purposed. It is now a popular warbird and you will probably see one or two of them at an airshow near you.

This model was made from the Heller 1/72 kit which is, in fact, the French modified version. Consequently, making this model of the T-28B required some modification. However, looking back on the model now I can’t remember what those modifications were. This kit was made when Heller was at the height of its powers and would easily stand up against many much more modern kits. However, if you want to make a US Navy T-28 you might try the Sword 1/72 kit which comes in boxings allowing you to make the B, C and D versions. There is a good review of this kit in Fine Scale Modeller which is generally positive.

SAN Jodel D.140 in 1/72 by Dujin
It came down to a toss of the coin to decide that the final trainer today which is the SAN Jodel D.140. Being a French aircraft had something to do with the choice – you might notice that two of the three aircraft are French, which might say something about the way the French design their aircraft. In any event, although in this is a military aircraft in this colour scheme its roots are civil, as are many primary trainers in military service. Today these are fairly rare aircraft but there are still a few in the air.

The kit from which this model was made was the Dujin 1/72 resin kit which is probably even rarer than the full scale aircraft. M. Dujin made a hundred or more fine little resin kits which were made in only small numbers and became hard to find very quickly. These days some of his kits are made available by FSC Dujin and this one is among them so you might be able to pick up a copy there. Otherwise, you can sometimes pick up these rare Dujin kits in the boxes under the tables at swap and sells where they are offered from only a fraction of their true worth.